Welcome to Plathville star Olivia Plath is sharing her feelings about Prime Video‘s Duggar documentary, Shiny Happy People: Duggar Family Secrets. The four-part docuseries premiered Friday, June 2, and Olivia said watching it was a “triggering” experience.
Shiny Happy People details the cultish religious organization through which Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar raised their 19 children. Bill Gothard’s Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP) taught its congregants that large families were a blessing from God (as part of the Quiverfull Christian theological position), but also featured a religious homeschooling program that used physical abuse as part of its teaching methods.
Olivia married Ethan Plath in 2018 before starring alongside the rest of Ethan’s family in Welcome to Plathville. The docuseries premiered in 2019 on TLC and showcased the Plath’s Christian fundamentalist household, as established by parents Barry and Kim Plath. Olivia no longer practices that lifestyle, which made watching Shiny Happy People a difficult but helpful watch.
“That was my life up until a few years ago,” Olivia said on her Instagram Story on Saturday, June 3. “A little triggering to watch, but also there is solidarity in having other people speak up and say, ‘Yep, you’re not crazy, happened to me too. I know about this.’ That is healing in a way.”
She then received an “overwhelming response from people saying, ‘Please, let’s talk about this,’” which then led to Olivia deciding to go live on Instagram on Monday, June 5 to share more about her experience as “ex-[fundamentalist] and ex-cult kids” with sister Lydia.
“I will say, the realm in which my public life exists, there’s a lot of things I can’t say,” she said. “There’s a lot of things I want to say about religion, about my past, about the world that I went right back into, and I hadn’t known to say them in the public space that exists for me, so I’m gonna get on [Instagram] instead.”
The reality star went on, “I’m jumping on to say my experience, to be honest, was decently negative. There’s a lot of things that I laugh about now, because what else are you supposed to do?” She also noted that she’s “not really religious anymore.”
Olivia and Ethan struggled with their relationship with Ethan’s parents earlier in their relationship. “When we were dating, I knew that I was being controlled in what we were allowed to do, what we’re allowed to say,” she told Us Weekly in August 2021. She and Ethan distanced themselves from Barry and Kim, who announced their decision to separate in 2022.
Shiny Happy People: Duggar Family Secrets, Streaming Now, Prime Video